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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Eh ... What's Up Doc?

One of the most recognizable characters in the world, Bugs Bunny is the street-smart wise-guy who led Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes gang in their animated high jinks. The world's most famous rabbit, Bugs was "born" in Brooklyn, New York to a clutch of "fathers" -- Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng -- each of whom added to the rascal hare's distinctive look and personality, according to Wikipedia. It was voice actor Mel Blanc who gave Bugs his memorable Brooklyn/Bronx voice. The 4-value commemorative issued by Albania in 2005 celebrates that "wascally wabbit." Click the post title to order.

Continually bullied into feuding with the likes of Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Marvin the Martian, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote and a host of others, Bugs would drawl, "Of course you realize, 'dis means war!" before proceeding to outwit the bad guys. Director Chuck Jones stole the line from Groucho Marx. A modern-day trickster in the style of the Norse god Loki, the African Anansi and the American South's Br'er Rabbit, Bugs was a master at creating mischief while duping his hapless victims.

Bugs' most famous mannerism, nonchalantly chewing a carrot, was a parody of a famous scene from the movie, It Happened One Night. In the movie, Clark Gable leans against a fence eating carrots faster than he can swallow, talking to Claudette Colbert with his mouth full during a hitch-hiking scene. So famous was this scene at the time that it was instantly recognized by most movie-goers. His famous line, What's up doc?, first written by director Tex Avery for the 1940's short, A Wild Hare, was a common greeting in Avery's native Texas. It brought down the house, becoming a national catch-phrase that became so popular it was included in virtually every Bugs Bunny cartoon thereafter. The wily wabbit's moniker, Bugs, was a 1940's nickname meaning crazy or loopy. While the most famous Bugs of the time period was gangster Bugs Moran, Bugs Bunny has clearly surpassed him in longevity and notoriety.

Starting his career in the movies, like most stars Bugs eventually wandered over to television where he enjoyed a sterling 40-year career and can still be seen on cable. In 1997, he was the first toon to grace a U.S. postage stamp. Bugs has been featured in comic books and video games. He even won an Oscar in 1958 for Knighty Knight Bugs.

County Stamp Center has lots of cartoon stamps to tickle your funny bone. Visit our website and use our easy search feature to find just what you're looking for. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs. That's all folks!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Snoopy & the Gang Frolic on Stamps

Nobody captured the joy and angst of childhood like Charles Schultz. Snoopy and the Peanuts gang from his comic strip are immortalized on this wonderful commemorative sheet issued by China. One of our February specials, it's available from County Stamp Center for only $6.57. Click the post title to order.

Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950, becoming one of the most famous comic strips of all time. It ran for nearly 50 years, appearing in 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. Pulling a few characters from an earlier strip Li'l Folks, Schultz loosely crafted the Peanuts gang after events in his own life.

Schultz learned the basics of his craft from a correspondence art school for which he later taught after World War II. Charlie Brown was named after a fellow teacher. The little red-haired girl was patterned after co-worker who refused his marriage proposal, forever after representing his unrequited love. Schultz loved ice hockey and figure skating which figured prominently into the antics of the Peanuts gang. For many years he owned an ice arena and his daughter Amy served as the skating model for the 1980 TV special She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. Schultz died in 2000 at the age of 77 but his strip lives on in syndication.

Visit the County Stamp Center website for all your philatelic needs. While you're browsing, don't forget to enter our monthly drawing. This month you could win a great 32-page Lindner stock book valued at $24. It's easy to enter, just visit our contest page and enter your name and e-mail address. Hurry! The contest ends at midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on Wednesday, February 28, 2007.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Build a Fabulous Art Collection for Pennies with Stamps

The luminous glow characteristic of his faces has always drawn me to the portraits Rembrandt painted. Six of his well-known portraits are immortalized in this 6-value commemorative set issued by Tuvalu in 2006. (Click the post title to order from County Stamp Center).

Considered one of the greatest European painters, the Dutch master lived from 1606 to 1669, his art defining the Dutch Golden Age. A prolific painter, Rembrandt produced more than 600 paintings, nearly 400 etchings, and at least 2,000 drawings. He portrayed the human spirit with great sympathy, imbuing his realistic portraits with a deep sense of spirituality. Rembrandt skillfully manipulated light and shadow to call attention to his subjects' weathered faces, bathing them in an ethereal glow that is characteristic of his portraits.

The art of many classic and modern artists has been captured on stamps. You may never be able to afford a Rembrandt on your wall, but you don't have to pay Sotheby's prices to build an outstanding virtual art collection through stamps. Visit the County Stamp Center website to find stamps featuring the masterpieces of your favorite artists -- from Renaissance masters to pop artists. Use our unique search feature to find just what you're looking for by key word, category or Scott catalog number. We sell supplies too, so you can always find the perfect mounting for the newest addition to your collection. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our First Outpost in the Final Frontier

I was privileged to hear former astronaut John Glenn speak this week. The retired Senator from Ohio told the gripping story of his first voyage into space. Crammed into a 7-foot wide capsule perched atop a 100-foot-tall Atlas rocket loaded with 250,000 pounds of explosive fuel, Glenn was thrust 160 miles into space on February 20, 1962 to become the first American to orbit the Earth.

"It seems as though the whole flight was maybe a week ago," said the 85-year-old Glenn about his voyage on Friendship 7, which was named by his children. Friendship 7 was the first spaceship with a window and Glenn recalled his feelings when Earth filled his tiny window for the first time. He recounted his awe at watching the sun and moon rise and set in quick succession as he circled the planet. He compared that cramped, lonely voyage with the comparative luxury of travelling aboard the shuttle Discovery with 6 other astronauts in 1998 at the age of 77.

A strong advocate for the completion of the international space station, Glenn said, "It's only about two-thirds complete, and we've never been able to do much research on it because we only have two people up there. They've been spending most of their time tending the systems on the station. Once we get the thing all built out, then we'll have a six-person crew up there, and about four people will be doing nothing but basic fundamental research of the most unusual kind we've ever been able to do."

The thrill and majesty of the international space station are captured on this souvenir sheet issued in 2006 by St. Vincent/Bequia. The single-value stamp features a stunning picture of the station suspended in space. Click the post title to order. County Stamp Center offers several striking stamps commemorating the International Space Station. Visit our website and enter "space station" in our unique Quick Search feature. At County Stamp Center we try to make it easy for you to find just what you're looking for. With our search feature you can find stamps by key word, category or Scott's catalog number. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stamp Captures Beauty of World's Largest Patchwork Quilt

The stunning colors and intricate design of the world's largest patchwork quilt are beautifully captured in the Patchwork Quilt Peace Mandala commemorative sheetlet issued by Mongolia. The work of ten thousand people from 16 countries, the amazing quilt was completed in 2002 and exhibited in Hiroshima, Japan in 2003. Perhaps the world's largest stamp, the sheetlet is tucked inside a colorful trifold coverlet and valued priced at County Stamp Center for only $33.75. Click the post title to order.

From the classical Indian language of Sanskrit, the word "mandala" loosely translated means "circle." Of Hindu origin, the complex organization of geometric patterns is used in Dharmic religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism to represent the cosmic wholeness of life. Mandalas are often used to focus attention during meditation.

Discover more unique and interesting stamps at County Stamp Center. Visit our website for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What Will Fortune Bring You During Year of the Boar?

Time to crack open a fortune cookie and see what the Year of the Boar has in store for you. Chinese New Year begins Sunday, the first day of the first lunar month of the year. The Chinese holiday ends 15 days later with Lantern Festival, the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day. For Chinese, the New Year celebration is a time for visiting and reuniting with family.

According to ancient Chinese legend, the nian, a man-eating beast, would descend from the mountains, silently creeping into houses to feast on humans. As it was sensitive to loud noise and the color red, villagers painted their window panes red and set off fireworks to scare the beast away. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations. Guo nian, “to celebrate the new year” in Chinese, literally means “the Passing of the nian beast.”

Chinese scrub down their homes in the days before the New Year begins, but put away their brooms and dust pans on New Year’s Eve so that luck cannot be swept away. Traditionalists put a new coat of red paint on window panes, and parents give red-wrapped packets of money to their children as a promise of prosperity. Strings of firecrackers encased in red paper are set off to scare away evil spirits.

Your fortune will read: "The future looks bright!" when you buy your stamps at County Stamp Center. The 24-stamp Chinese New Year sheetlet shown was issued by the U.S. in 2005. Set against a red background decorated with lucky bamboo, each stamp features the stylized symbol of a recent new year celebration, from the Year of the Rat in 1996 to this year's Year of the Boar. Click the post title to order. No matter what your future holds, you'll find it in stamps at County Stamp Center! Visit our website for all your philatelic needs.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Galileo's Discoveries Changed the World

In 1564, Galileo Galilei was born and the universe shifted. The father of modern astronomy, the Italian physicist proved that the Earth revolves around the sun, challenging the accepted thinking of his day and revolutionizing science.

Though forced to halt his own studies at the University of Pisa for financial reasons, Galileo was offered a job on the faculty in 1589 teaching mathematics. In 1592 he moved to the University of Padua where he taught geometry, mechanics and astronomy until 1610. It was during this period that Galileo made some of his most starting discoveries in mathematics, kinetics and astronomy.

Writing that "the language of God is mathematics," Galileo was the first to clearly state that the laws of nature are mathematical. He developed the quantitative approach to science we use today, utilizing rigorous, mathematically-provable experiments. His improvements to the telescope allowed him to observe the moons of Jupiter and prove Copernicus' sun-centered theory of the universe. At the time, Aristotle's earth-centered views held sway and the Roman Catholic church denounced Galileo as a heretic. He spent the remainder of his life under house arrest. Undeterred, Galileo published his findings in several volumes before his death in 1642. Learn more about Galileo on Wikipedia.

To commemorate advances in astronomy, in 2002 Portugal issued the 8-value stamp set shown. To order, click the post title. At County Stamp Center you'll find stamps on every subject imaginable. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Where's Your Tattoo?

Dating back to 12,000 years BC, tattoos decorate the mummies of Egyptian concubines and Neolithic cavemen. Historically, tattoos have been used to identify clans in Northern Europe, indicate social status in Polynesia, advertise marriageable skills in Borneo, and ward off illness in Eastern Europe. Tattoos on the fingers and wrist like the traditional Croatian hand tattoos pictured on this stamp were thought to protect the wearer from disease. (Click the post title to order.)

The English word "tattoo" comes from the Tahitian "tatau" meaning "to mark or strike twice," a reference to the traditional method of application with sharpened sticks. Widely popular with pre-Christian European cultures, tattoos disappeared from the West between the 12th and 16th century, banned by the Pope as a pagan rite. In the 1690s sailors returning from the South Seas reintroduced the art which fascinated the European upper class. By 1898 nearly 1 in 5 members of the gentry wore tattoos! The invention of the electric tattooing machine in 1891 made tattoos affordable for the general population.

In America, tattoos reached their heyday in the years just before World War I when cosmetic tattoos -- blushed cheeks, colored lips and eyeliner -- were the rage of New York City society. Changing mores caused tattoos to fall out of favor and they became associated with the seamier side of society. During the free-spirited 1960s, tattoos enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. Today, tattoos have gone mainstream with everyone from movie stars to grandmothers sporting body art. Where's your tattoo? We promise not to tell!

Visit County Stamp Center's website for stamps to suit every interest. We carry quality philatelic supplies too.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stamps Make Unique, Unusual Valentine's Day Gift

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet
And so are you.

Remember when a red paper heart painstakingly cut out of construction paper and a hokey poem laboriously crayoned in block letters were the epitome of the perfect Valentine's Day gift? Well, love has grown and today Valentine's Day usually includes flowers, dinner, jewelry and a box of chocolates!

If you're tired of the same old, same old, why not surprise your sweetheart with a unique and thoughtful gift this year? County Stamp Center carries many unusual and beautiful stamps that would make lovely Valentine gifts for that special person in your life. We carry 100 different Love Stamps, hundreds of gorgeous Flower Stamps, tantalizing Cuisine Stamps, fabulous Jewelry Stamps, and even a Chocolate Stamp.

Make Valentine's Day memorable this year and surprise your special someone with the gift of stamps. Click the link to go to any of the categories listed above, and click the post title to order the charming Swedish Love Stamps shown. If your sweetheart has a particular passion, visit the County Stamp Center website for a complete listing of all our stamps. Use our Quick Search feature to find the topic you're looking for. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Federal Duck Stamps Started as a Conservation Effort

In the early 1930s the continental waterfowl population was declining. In one of the most successful conservation programs ever devised, conservationists, artists, hunters and the federal government joined together to protect migratory waterfowl, giving birth to the Federal Duck Stamp program. Revenues from the sale of Duck Stamps have been used to purchase millions of acres of natural habitat for America's waterfowl through the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The first Federal Duck Stamp was designed by Pulitzer-Prize-winning political cartoonist Jay Norwood Darling, a stanch conservationist. Chief of the US Biological Survey from 1934-35, Darling served on the committee that examined the waterfowl crisis and was a leading advocate of the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act. The first Federal Duck Stamp was issued in 1934 and featured Darling's etching Mallards Dropping In. Since 1934, all waterfowl hunters have been required to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp and affix it to their state hunting license.

Each year, hundreds of artists from all over the country enter the contest to design the Duck Stamp. Over the years stamp issues have featured the work of America's most renowned wildlife artists. The 1935 stamp was created by artist Frank Benson. County Stamp Center offers a number of Federal Duck Stamps. For details and to order, visit our website and select US Duck Stamps from the drop-down category box. For a limited time, County Stamp Center is offering 15% off all US Duck Stamps. Enter coupon code DUCKS2006 at check out to receive the 15% discount on your US Duck stamp purchase.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Stamps Celebrate Life in Earth's Deep Freeze

With the frigid winds of the arctic nipping at most of the country, it seems most appropriate to highlight stamps featuring the coldest place on Earth -- Antarctica. This month's special offer at County Stamp Center is a delightful series of 16 stamps highlighting sea life in the Antarctic. Issued by the British Antarctic Territory, the Antarctic Marine Food Chain series includes the Latin name of each creature with a wonderfully detailed color illustration. The 2008 Scott Catalogue value of the 16-stamp series is $24.00 but you can get it at County Stamp Center for only $17.90 with free shipping. Click the link to order.

If you prefer your sea life on the cute and cuddly side, you'll love this wonderful Penguin Sheetlet, also from the British Antarctic Territories. Lots of charming photographs of penguins from cute downy chicks to graceful nurturing parents are featured on this delightful sheetlet. Only $20.53 at County Stamp Center; click the link to order.

County Stamp Center offers numerous stamps on our planet's coldest continent. Visit our website and use our unique Quick Search feature to find just what you're looking for. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Friday, February 02, 2007

150th Anniversary of First Mexican Stamp Sheet

This month's featured new item is this gorgeous sheet celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first Mexican stamp sheet. The labelled sheet is beautifully colored and shows 32 values. It is available from County Stamp Center with free shipping at a special price of only $64.14. Click the post title to order.

The postal system of Mexico developed from a system of messengers established by the Aztecs, according to Wikipedia. Hernando Cortes continued using the system after his 1521 conquest of the Aztecs until postal operations were ceded to the nobility in 1579. In 1765 the Spanish crown nationalized the postal service.

Thirty-five years after achieving independence from Spain, Mexico issued its first postage stamps on August 1, 1856. The five values depicted patriot Miguel Hidalgo, a priest, who initiated the fight for independence in 1810. Using his small town pulpit, he rallied the peasants against the corrupt government. Hildalgo was captured and beheaded for his efforts, his head displayed in Guanajuato as a warning to insurgents until independence was won in 1821. With other leaders of the revolution, Hidalgo is buried at the Rotunda of Illustrious Men in Mexico City and is honored as the Father of the Mexican Nation and Liberator of Mexico. His portrait was selected to grace Mexico's 150th anniversary sheet.

Visit the County Stamp Center website to view all the new December issues. And don't miss our 2006 best sellers. While you're at our website, make sure you sign up to receive our e-mail newsletter. It couldn't be easier, just enter your name and e-mail address in the space on the right sidebar. Each month we'll let you know about featured items, special sales, contests and other things you won't want to miss. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.